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Bauman credits AAU play for college exposure

Bill Beckner Jr.

Freeport senior David Bauman’s jet lag went away when he found out the University at Albany (N.Y.) had followed him over halfway across the country.

Bauman had just returned home from a long road trip that included stops in Las Vegas, Nev. and Orlando, Fla. for Amateur Athletic Union (A.A.U.) basketball tournaments.

Bauman didn’t realize representatives from Albany were watching every move as he brought the ball up the court for the Keystone Gators.

“I never even knew they were in the stands,” Bauman said.

Turns out, the frequent-flyer miles were worthwhile for both parties. The Gators (28-14) went 5-0 in Las Vegas at the adidas Tournament and almost won their pool in Orlando at the A.A.U. nationals, and Bauman gave Division-I Albany a verbal commitment Monday.

Bauman believes the A.A.U. season gave him the exposure from college coaches he may not have received playing his final season in the WPIAL.

Simply put, Bauman raised eyebrows by raising his game this summer.

“A.A.U. makes you so much better,” Bauman said. “You might play six games in a weekend against some of the best talent in the country. It’s a different level from high school.”

His coach, who also happens to be his elder brother, agrees.

“Davey arrived so late on the recruiting scene,” said Alan Bauman, who coached the Gators and will be an assistant varsity coach at Kittanning this winter. “A.A.U. makes such a difference in recruiting for basketball. If you’re a high school football player in western Pennsylvania, you’re going to get looks. Basketball isn’t like that around here.”

Alan, who played two years at Geneva after graduating from Freeport, said his 18-year-old brother really drew attention during a tournament in Washington, D.C.

“If there was one tournament that defined him, that was it,” Alan said. “I mean, he blew up. We played the Richmond Squires, who were ranked ninth in the country. Davey had 22 points and made 7 of 8 3-pointers. The only three he missed would have won the game. We lost by two.”

David led the Gators in scoring at 18 points per game. His season-high was 29, and he made more than 100 3-pointers including a stretch where he had 14 in two games.

The Gators ended their season with a loss to eventual sixth-place team Baltimore Cecil Kirk at nationals. Other local members of the team were senior Brent Ferko of Freeport, and senior Matt Lower and sophomore Jordan Shoop of Knoch.

David has more than 600 career points at Freeport. He missed most of his sophomore season with a broken right ankle.

As he prepares for his senior season, which should be stress-free now that he has a college picked, Bauman is working with a personal trainer on footwork and quickness.

Franklin watch

Some people wonder what ever happened to another local basketball player, former Plum star point guard Bobby Franklin.

The 5-foot-11 Franklin, the Valley News Dispatch Player of the Year in 2002, is attending PSAC-member Clarion University. He had received some Division I interest from Youngstown State, Canisius and Niagara, but opted to play Division II after visiting Clarion and discussing the matter with his father, Bob, a former star player at Point Park.

“Bobby’s enjoying himself,” Bob Sr. said. “He’s getting aligned with college life. They started conditioning up there, and he seems pretty excited about where he is.”

Bobby’s father said there is a good chance his son could play right away.

Raising the bar

Gymnast Nicole Drane committed to Pitt last weekend and accepted a full athletic scholarship. The six-time regional and three-time national qualifier attends Lenape High School in Mt. Laurel, N.J. but her parents, Larry and Marianne Drane, are formerly of Natrona Heights.

Fast fact

Tuesday’s 203-216 victory over St. Joseph was Freeport golf coach Dave Panach’s 200th career victory.

Panach is 200-54.


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